MMQB: Jimmy Garoppolo Has Learned to Live With His Unusual Situation

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Sports Illustrated 13 September, 2021 - 04:53am 3 views

Who is San Francisco quarterback?

The cat is out of the bag. Kyle Shanahan has unofficially officially named Jimmy Garoppolo the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback. It wasn't tough to figure out he would be named the starter once Trey Lance suffered a fracture chip in his finger. Sports IllustratedWhy Kyle Shanahan is Naming Jimmy Garoppolo the Starting Quarterback

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San Francisco 49ers fear CB Jason Verrett has torn ACL; Raheem Mostert set for more tests on knee

ESPN 13 September, 2021 - 09:21am

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DETROIT -- The San Francisco 49ers have been no stranger to disappointing injuries in recent years, but the one that took place late Sunday might be the most devastating yet.

With 7:54 left in a 41-33 win against the Detroit Lions, cornerback Jason Verrett suffered a right knee injury that both he and the team fear is a torn ACL. Verrett is slated to have further testing done on the knee when the team arrives at the Greenbrier in West Virginia later Sunday for a week of practices before next weekend's game in Philadelphia.

"It's crushing," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We're hoping for the best, but it's crushing. The bad luck he's had and putting together these last two years staying healthy and how good of a camp he had... I have got a lot of love for JV and respect him as much as anyone I've ever been around. So, I'm really hurting for him."

Verrett's injury comes with serious ramifications for a team that was already thin at cornerback, but it hits harder because of the human side of it. During a four-season span (2016-18 with the Chargers, and 2019 with the Niners), he played just six games due to a torn left ACL in 2016, persistent knee issues the following season and a torn right Achilles in 2018.

Despite those setbacks, Verrett has become a favorite of Shanahan and in the Niners locker room for his perseverance. He bounced back last season, playing in 13 games with two interceptions, seven pass breakups and a career-high 60 tackles. It was the first time he'd played in at least 13 games since 2015.

All of that earned Verrett a one-year, $5.5 million deal to re-sign with the team March 15. Verrett followed by clearly establishing himself as the Niners' top cornerback in training camp.

"It's awful," tight end George Kittle said. "It definitely knocks the wind out of your sails. He's a leader on this team. He's a guy who is consistent, shows up every day, plays at a high level and makes plays when you need him. He's reliable. And when that happens, it sucks."

When Verrett departed, the Niners had a 41-17 lead. After he left, the Lions scored 16 unanswered points and had the ball at San Francisco's 24 for a potential game-tying drive before it fizzled.

Shanahan said the injury perhaps contributed to him going to his backups a bit too soon.

"I know I became too concerned with protecting our guys as opposed to doing whatever you've got to do to win," Shanahan said. "We got a little caught up in that when we lost JV but we were able to pull it out."

Now, the 49ers will spend the next few days sorting out a murky cornerback situation. Already without starter Emmanuel Moseley, who did not play Sunday because of a knee injury, the 49ers ended Sunday's game with rookie Deommodore Lenoir and practice squad callup Dontae Johnson on the outside and veteran K'Waun Williams at nickel back. Rookie Ambry Thomas was also available.

Veteran Josh Norman, who signed earlier in the week, was a pregame inactive, but Shanahan said he could be ready to go next weekend against the Eagles and there's hope that Moseley will be able to return as well.

One other option? A reunion with veteran cornerback Richard Sherman.

"We have discussed it," Shanahan said. "I've talked to Sherm about it, too. Sherm is always a possibility."

Verrett wasn't the only 49ers starter to leave Sunday's game with an injury and not return. Running back Raheem Mostert departed with a knee issue (it wasn't immediately clear which one), and linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered a groin injury on a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Mostert carried twice for 20 yards on San Francisco's second possession but headed to the sideline soon after a 9-yard gain on the second play of the series. Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell stepped in for Mostert after the injury.

Like Verrett, Mostert was also scheduled to have more imaging done on his knee when the Niners arrive in West Virginia.

"They told me they're not worried about it being an ACL, so that's obviously real good news but that's about all we know," Shanahan said.

Mostert has struggled with injuries in his career, playing in eight games last year as a knee sprain and a high ankle sprain cost him two and six games, respectively. With Mostert out, Mitchell posted 104 yards on 19 carries with a 38-yard touchdown run. Mitchell's 104 rushing yards are the most by a 49ers player in his career debut, surpassing Rickey Watters (100 in 1992), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Rookie running back Trey Sermon, whom the 49ers drafted in the third round this year, is also on the roster but was a healthy scratch Sunday.

"We only dressed three backs," Shanahan said. "But those are the three after going through training camp and stuff that we felt the three we were gonna go with."

Detroit Lions fear Jeff Okudah injury could be Achilles, more tests to come

MLive.com 13 September, 2021 - 09:21am

DETROIT -- Add injury to insult for Jeff Okudah.

The Detroit Lions cornerback was beaten for two long touchdowns in the season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, then left the game in the fourth quarter with what the club fears could be an Achilles injury. Okudah is headed for medical testing to determine the exact nature of the injury.

“We’re checking him out now,” coach Dan Campbell said after the loss. “We know, obviously, it’s somewhere around the ankle. Could be an Achilles. We will know a lot more this afternoon, hopefully, or tomorrow morning.”

Clearly nothing has been determined yet, and an ankle injury is still possible, which could be a short-term thing. But much like the Taylor Decker injury last week, the tea leaves are not good.

Achilles injuries are among the most difficult in the game to overcome, requiring a long rehab that does not guarantee a return to previous athletic form. They often rob a player of his explosion. Consider Ryan Broyles, another Lions early-round pick who suffered an Achilles injury in 2013. He was struggling to live up to the hype of a second-round pick anyway, then blew out his Achilles on punt return duty and came back a different player physically. He caught just two passes in five games before getting released, and never played in the NFL again.

Again, we’re a very long way from knowing whether Okudah even suffered an Achilles injury, much less the severity of it. But it seems the worst-case scenario is at least on the table, and if that’s indeed what Okudah has, the odds he ever lives up to the third overall pick will grow much longer.

He was among the worst cornerbacks in the league as a rookie, then shut things down after Thanksgiving to undergo surgery and get right. Okudah has enjoyed a nice offseason too, and vibed much better with the new staff versus the old one. He’s learned so much more about the game, developed confidence because of it and turned in a nice training camp.

But that training camp did not carry over to the season opener. Okudah got sucked toward the right sideline on one second-quarter play, which allowed Elijiah Mitchell to run 38 yards untouched for a touchdown. He was caught on TV getting chewed out by position coach Aubrey Pleasant, who was screaming, “DO YOUR JOB! DO YOUR JOB! DO YOUR JOB!”

Then one quarter later, Okudah was beaten by Deebo Samuel for a 79-yard touchdown on third-and-long. Okudah actually had decent coverage on the play, but did not adjust to the underthrown ball. Samuel did, made the catch, then outran safety Will Harris for the longest play by either team all day, a 79-yard TD that extended San Francisco’s lead to 38-10.

“I mean, look, I know the long one, we all saw it,” Campbell said. “We got the pressure we wanted on (Jimmy) Garoppolo, the ball gets fluttered up in the air -- a long one -- and Jeff just didn’t get his eyes around. They made a play on the ball, and it hurt. It hurt us, you know?

“I would say for Jeff, it was an up-and-down game. He flashes on a few plays, and you’re like, ‘Woah, there he is.’ And the next thing you know, it’s something happens. I don’t want to make excuses, but at the same time, he’s in Year 2, and he made some young errors, is what he did.”

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Detroit Lions' Jamaal Williams, T.J. Hockenson two of few bright spots in loss

Detroit Free Press 13 September, 2021 - 05:00am

OLB Trey Flowers: Flowers has been the consummate team player since he came to Detroit, and his play Sunday embodied that. He finished with a modest four tackles and no sacks, but had the Lions’ key defensive play, coming from the far side of the field to knock loose a Deebo Samuel fumble late in the fourth quarter on what almost was a third-and-13 conversion that would have iced the game. The Lions need more pass rush out of Flowers and their entire defensive front, but his forced fumble was the hustle play of the game.

T.J. Hockenson:  Hockenson is going to have a big year — make that a huge year — if he stays healthy. Hockenson was the Lions’ only downfield receiving threat Sunday. He finished with eight catches for 97 yards and scored the Lions’ first touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Jared Goff, when he ran a beautiful route in the red zone. At this rate, and given how little the Lions have at receiver, Hockenson seems like a fair bet to be the team’s first 100-catch receiver since Calvin Johnson in 2012.

S Will Harris: It wasn’t just Okudah who struggled in the secondary. Harris and cornerback Amani Oruwariye, both of whom drew mention from general manager Brad Holmes for their strong preseasons, also had rough days. Oruwariye gave up the 49ers’ first touchdown to Trent Sherfield, and Harris had a facemask penalty and a handful of missed tackles, including one on Elijah Mitchell’s long touchdown run.

OT Matt Nelson: The Lions shuffled their offensive line after Taylor Decker suffered a finger injury in the middle week, moving right tackle Penei Sewell to left tackle and inserting Nelson in Sewell’s place. Sewell had a couple slip-ups but fared mostly well in his NFL debut. Nelson had a bit of a rougher day, allowing a sack to Dee Ford, multiple other pressures and drawing a holding penalty that was declined. In his defense, the converted defensive tackle was asked to pass block an unsustainable 57 times.

Detroit Lions' Jamaal Williams, T.J. Hockenson two of few bright spots in loss

prideofdetroit.com 13 September, 2021 - 05:00am

OLB Trey Flowers: Flowers has been the consummate team player since he came to Detroit, and his play Sunday embodied that. He finished with a modest four tackles and no sacks, but had the Lions’ key defensive play, coming from the far side of the field to knock loose a Deebo Samuel fumble late in the fourth quarter on what almost was a third-and-13 conversion that would have iced the game. The Lions need more pass rush out of Flowers and their entire defensive front, but his forced fumble was the hustle play of the game.

T.J. Hockenson:  Hockenson is going to have a big year — make that a huge year — if he stays healthy. Hockenson was the Lions’ only downfield receiving threat Sunday. He finished with eight catches for 97 yards and scored the Lions’ first touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Jared Goff, when he ran a beautiful route in the red zone. At this rate, and given how little the Lions have at receiver, Hockenson seems like a fair bet to be the team’s first 100-catch receiver since Calvin Johnson in 2012.

S Will Harris: It wasn’t just Okudah who struggled in the secondary. Harris and cornerback Amani Oruwariye, both of whom drew mention from general manager Brad Holmes for their strong preseasons, also had rough days. Oruwariye gave up the 49ers’ first touchdown to Trent Sherfield, and Harris had a facemask penalty and a handful of missed tackles, including one on Elijah Mitchell’s long touchdown run.

OT Matt Nelson: The Lions shuffled their offensive line after Taylor Decker suffered a finger injury in the middle week, moving right tackle Penei Sewell to left tackle and inserting Nelson in Sewell’s place. Sewell had a couple slip-ups but fared mostly well in his NFL debut. Nelson had a bit of a rougher day, allowing a sack to Dee Ford, multiple other pressures and drawing a holding penalty that was declined. In his defense, the converted defensive tackle was asked to pass block an unsustainable 57 times.

Detroit Lions' Jamaal Williams, T.J. Hockenson two of few bright spots in loss

The Mercury News 13 September, 2021 - 05:00am

OLB Trey Flowers: Flowers has been the consummate team player since he came to Detroit, and his play Sunday embodied that. He finished with a modest four tackles and no sacks, but had the Lions’ key defensive play, coming from the far side of the field to knock loose a Deebo Samuel fumble late in the fourth quarter on what almost was a third-and-13 conversion that would have iced the game. The Lions need more pass rush out of Flowers and their entire defensive front, but his forced fumble was the hustle play of the game.

T.J. Hockenson:  Hockenson is going to have a big year — make that a huge year — if he stays healthy. Hockenson was the Lions’ only downfield receiving threat Sunday. He finished with eight catches for 97 yards and scored the Lions’ first touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Jared Goff, when he ran a beautiful route in the red zone. At this rate, and given how little the Lions have at receiver, Hockenson seems like a fair bet to be the team’s first 100-catch receiver since Calvin Johnson in 2012.

S Will Harris: It wasn’t just Okudah who struggled in the secondary. Harris and cornerback Amani Oruwariye, both of whom drew mention from general manager Brad Holmes for their strong preseasons, also had rough days. Oruwariye gave up the 49ers’ first touchdown to Trent Sherfield, and Harris had a facemask penalty and a handful of missed tackles, including one on Elijah Mitchell’s long touchdown run.

OT Matt Nelson: The Lions shuffled their offensive line after Taylor Decker suffered a finger injury in the middle week, moving right tackle Penei Sewell to left tackle and inserting Nelson in Sewell’s place. Sewell had a couple slip-ups but fared mostly well in his NFL debut. Nelson had a bit of a rougher day, allowing a sack to Dee Ford, multiple other pressures and drawing a holding penalty that was declined. In his defense, the converted defensive tackle was asked to pass block an unsustainable 57 times.

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